A) NOVA TOTIUS EUROPEA TABULA
G v d Gouwen fecie aquaforte
With views of Rome, Paris, London, Seville. The title is on a banner held aloft by putti with garlands of fruit. In cartouche upper right “Gedrukt by Pet: Schenk Const en Caart Verkoper Op de Vygendam Tot Amsterdam Met Privilegie”.
B) NOVA TOTIUS AFRICAE TABULA
PETRUS SCHENK Excudet Met Previlegie
Tideman and G. van Gouwen, f.
With harbour of Stadt Minae, Algiers, Tanger, Alcair, Tunis. The title is on a banner held aloft by putti with garlands of fruit; a second title is surrounded by allegorical figures representing Africa, the Nile and Mercury. Hidden among them are the signatures of Philip Tideman as artist, Willem van der Gouwen as engraver and Schenk as publisher.
C) NOVA TOTIUS AMERICAE TABULA
Tideman, G v d Gouwe fecit
With harbour views of S.Salvador, ‘Nombred Dios’ (near Panama), ‘Panama’, Nieu Jork’, ‘Caput S. Augustini’ (St. Augustine, Florida) The view of New York, signed by Schenk, is believed to be an unrecorded view of the city, after Visscher (or Blaeu), with the title reflecting the British capture of the city from the Dutch in 1674. The upper right corner features an inset of the Arctic Circle encompassed by a pageant of festoons, putti and deities.
The map contained within hails from Henricus Hondius’ polar projection of 1636. Decoratively, the interior of South America is inhabited by scenes of native peoples and exotic animals, while numerous ships traverse the oceans, including two naval battles scenes in the Atlantic. Both of the lower corners are inhabited by vivid allegorical scenes.
The scene on the left shows the personifications of war and knowledge flanked by vignettes of European encounters with indigenous warriors. The scene on the right depicts a procession of elaborately attired native peoples along with a Peruvian llama.
D) NOVA TOTIUS ASIAE TABULA
PETRUS SCHENK. Excudit Met privilegie
Tideman invent and G v d Gouwen fecit.
With harbour views of Goa, Batavia, Suratte, Jerusalem, Colombo. A large number of ports are indicated along the Persian Gulf; among an early mentioning of Catara (Qatar) Baharem (Bahrein).
Literature: Koeman: Atlantes Neerlandici, vols. III, p.107, after 1706, is the address on the ‘Vijgendam’ in Samsons Atlas. Krogt, p. van der. ‘Advertenties voor kaarten, atlassen, globes [&c.]’. Ill. 195, p. 50. “1702, 30 mei/ t’Amsterdam by P. Schenk, op de Beurssluys, zyngedrukt en te bekomen: Hecatompolis, of 100 voorname steden des werelds … Nog alle de Kaerten van Italie in ‘t geheel en in deelen. Nog de vier deelen der wereld, zeer naeukeurig uitgewerkt, ware onder Asia zeer net is uytgebeeld volgens de allerbeste aftekeningen. Nog een Kartesiaensche Kaert der Hemispherien of Halfronden. En eyndelyk nog een kleyne Atlas van 27 Kaerten van Sanson, afgezet voor 6 gulden. Alles uytgegeven met Privilegie.’’
The set of the four continents will be published in the upcoming publication of Wall Maps by professor G. Schilder in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam.
The only complete known set of the four continents by Petrus Schenk
All such wall maps are great rarities. Technically difficult and very expensive to produce, they were issued in very limited quantities. Moreover, their great size and the manner in which they were displayed made them especially vulnerable to damage, such that very few examples survive to the present day.
The four maps of the continents are in a generally good condition. They were mounted on canvas but the canvas was partly decayed, during the course of time. To ensure the maps preservation, they were carefully removed from the bearer so the original colours for the most part could be maintained and were then re-mounted on thin Japanese paper.
During the 17th century, when the Dutch Republic was at its economic and cultural high point, monumental wall maps possessed a unique and prominent role which transcended the realm of cartography. They were considered to be among the ultimate signs of intellectual sophistication and affluence, notions of great import to the ruling mercantile class of the Netherlands. Their iconographic significance was best captured by Johannes Vermeer, who prominently featured wall maps in several of his paintings.
Petrus Schenk or Peter Schenk the Elder was born in 1660 in Elberfeld and moved to Amsterdam in 1675 to become a student of Gerard Valck. Petrus Schenk became a famous German engraver, cartographer and publisher, active in Amsterdam and Leipzig. He became court artist to the Elector of Saxony, August the Strong, a patron of the arts and architecture, in Dresden.
At his second marriage he married Agatha Valck in 1687, the sister of the artist Gerard Valck and had three sons who became engravers. The Valck and Schenk families were united and where active as print sellers, publishers and printers of maps, atlases and architectural drawings as well globes. His eldest son Peter Schenk the Younger was also a noted cartographer and art dealer who continued his father’s shop in Liepzig. His sons Jan and Leonrad stayed in Amsterdam and probably continued their father’s workshop. His daughter Maria married Leonard Valck, the son of Gerard, who continued Gerard’s workshop.